Champion System’s Butler Holds Escape Nearly to the Finish
Champion System Pro Cycling Team’s Chris Butler was one of handful of riders in a breakaway that was caught inside the final kilometer of Wednesday's finish at the Tour of Hainan.
On the longest stage of the race at 207.8 kilometers, a four-man breakaway escaped immediately at the start. Battered by several climbs and a crosswind, the field became disorganized halfway through the stage, Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said.
“There was some uncategorized climbs after the second sprint followed by some potential cross tail winds,” Beamon said. “I told the guys to be prepared and take advantage of the opportunity there.”
Along with four others, Butler seized the chance to bridge to the escapees. After reaching them, the group built a two-minute lead on the peloton.
With 20 km to go and only a 15-second gap separating the breakaway group from the peloton, the American attacked again on a small climb. Only two riders could follow and the trio had a 25-second gap heading under the five-kilometer banner.
But their hopes for surviving to the finish were dashed when the charging peloton chased them down in the final 500 meters. Race leader Alexander Serebryakov (Team Type 1-Sanofi) crossed the line first but was relegated for irregular sprinting. Ramon Sinkeldam (Argos-Shimano) was awarded the stage win while Serebryakov held onto the leader’s jersey for the fourth consecutive day.
Thursday’s sixth stage of the nine-day race features three categorized climbs and two intermediate sprints.